Teenage surfer dies after shark attack off southern Australia

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A 15-year-old surfer has died in the third fatal shark attack to take place in waters off South Australia state in recent months.

Khai Cowley was attacked by a suspected great white shark on Thursday while surfing with his father off the remote Ethel Beach on the Yorke Peninsula west of his hometown of Adelaide, authorities said.

The boy was brought to shore, but emergency services were unable to revive him.

Surfers also died in shark attacks in remote parts of South Australia in May and October. Their bodies were never recovered.

South Australia premier Peter Malinauskas said there have been 11 fatal shark attacks in the state’s waters since 2000.

The fact that three of those fatalities occurred since May is “startling and is of concern”, he told Nine Network television on Friday.

Malinauskas said there was little the government could do to make beaches safer outside Adelaide, the state capital and its most populous city.

Outside the state, a 16-year-old girl was killed by a bull shark in a river in the west coast city of Perth in February in the only other fatal shark attack in Australia during 2023.

Adelaide-based shark expert Andrew Fox said the increase in shark attacks in South Australia this year, including two non-fatal attacks, was difficult to explain.

He said overcast conditions like those at Ethel Beach on Thursday can embolden sharks to attack.

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